Each year, about seven percent of tax-paying Americans fall victim to identity theft, the fastest growing crime in the nation. To combat identity theft today, Americans are taught to protect their personal information with a lock-and-key. As a result, many taxpayers fear filing a tax return full of personal data.
Fear not, our tips to combat identity theft will show you there's little security risk to filing a tax return.
Combat Identity Theft in 5 Easy Steps
By following our five tips to combat identity theft, you can rest assured your personal information will be safe on tax day.
No one else can file a tax return in your name, if you have already filed your own. Combat identity theft by beating thieves to the punch. The IRS rejects all duplicate tax returns it receives. Since the IRS has already begun accepting tax returns; why not call your accountant today? Just know, if the IRS won’t accept your return, you identity may already be stolen.
You can also work to combat identity theft early in the game. We suggest requesting electronic W-2s and 10-99s from your employer to eliminate a paper trail of personal information. Very often thieves target mail deliveries in late January when most employer tax documents are mailed.
Beware of phishing
Very often, emails that appear to be from the IRS are actually phishing scams. Combat identity theft today by taking greater care with what unexpected emails you open during tax season. As a rule, the IRS will not email you to request sensitive information. Scammers, who claim to be from the IRS, may also call you asking for personal information. Combat identity theft by hanging up the phone immediately.
Adjust your tax withholding
The bigger your tax return, the bigger incentive there is for identity theft. To combat identity theft, we suggest adjusting your withholding amount to receive a smaller amount at tax time. If you happen to owe money to the IRS, there will be nothing for thieves to steal.
Choose the right accountant
If something sounds too good to be true, it might very well be. This is especially true with online ads for accountants that provide enormous returns. We suggest you always be careful with who you trust with your personal information. To combat identity theft, you should make sure your accountant has a preparer identification number and a good reputation.
At DeFreitas & Minsky, we specialize in all aspects of tax returns on Long Island. If you need advice to combat identity theft or would like any more assistance, don’t hesitate to call DeFreitas & Minsky Certified Public Accountants. We can help sort everything out. Call us at 516.746.6322 for more information.